Guidelines under microscope

THE State Government has denied claims its transition plan guidelines for TAFEs are too “stringent”.

Following the government’s announcement of its restructure to the vocational training sector, Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE plans to submit a government-initiated report on its transition to the new structure.

However the report’s guidelines have come under scrutiny from Victorian TAFE Association’s executive director David Williams.

Mr Williams said the government was only keen on analysing “the business outcome” of its recent decisions, with “no clear interest” on the effects of course delivery or student outcomes.

“The guidelines provided to TAFE institutes on what to include in their transitional plans are very clear. The transition plan is about structural efficiency and shared services,” Mr Williams said.

“It’s about whether GippsTAFE, Monash University Gippsland and Advance TAFE should be one organisation, or separate, or have a back-up shared corporate service entity.”

However, Victorian Skills Minister Peter Hall said the Institute Transition Plans were aimed to “work with TAFEs” and he had not “instructed any TAFEs” to merge.

“I have said these are going to be the new funding arrangements and want to work with (TAFE institutes) to determine your future. This doesn’t mean amalgamation… and our process is genuine in working with organisations to develop a position to suit the community’s needs,” Mr Hall said.

Following GippsTAFE’s announcement of job losses, State Member for Morwell Russell Northe said while “the picture painted currently is quite bleak… the whole vocational system needs change to occur”.

When The Express asked Mr Northe if he supported his government’s decision, he did not provide a definitive response, but instead referred to an industry road map report, which he believed would present a “better picture” of employment skills and training in the region.

“I don’t believe there will be an absolute reversal of funding arrangements,” Mr Northe said.

“There’s more to play out on this… some say the reforms announced have gone too far and I understand and share those concerns.

“But the government is happy to hear any ways or means we might improve the way we provide education training in Gippsland.”